Where is High Point State Park
Tucked away in the northeastern Skylands region of the state, High Point State Park resides entirely within New Jersey. The park lies upon the border of two townships in Sussex County: Wantage and Montague township. High Point State Park also lies near the border of Pennsylvania and New York, making it a popular east coast outdoor recreation spot. Visitors arriving at High Point US State Park can expect to find areas within the park designated for hiking, fishing, and camping. The park also contains the High Point Monument. High Point State Park lies 60 miles and an hour drive east of Scranton, Pennsylvania, 140 miles and a two hour and forty-five-minute drive north of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and 69 miles and a two hour drive northwest of New York City.
How Large is High Point State Park
High Point State Park covers over 15,000 acres. The park’s geography mainly consists of forests, rolling hills, valleys and riparian ecosystems. The park offers several trails for hiking and cross-country skiing. These trails meander through the park’s forest and offer views of the surrounding area. The High Point Monument which is found in the park built upon a summit in the park sits at 1,804 feet and is the highest point of elevation in the state of New Jersey. The park also contains part of the Kittney Mountains, a portion of the Appalachian Trail and offers a home to a wide array of wildlife species.
High Point State Park Weather
The weather at High Point State Park varies throughout the seasons. In the summer, temperatures in the park average between 55- and 85-degrees Fahrenheit. In winter, these temperatures cool considerably and average between 15- and 40-degrees Fahrenheit. The warmest temperatures of the year arrive at the park in June, July, and August, and the coldest temperatures find the park in December and January. On average, High Point State Park receives around 85 days of rain per year. These 85 days of rain accumulate to a yearly average of around 45 inches. In winter, High Point State Park frequently experiences snow and freezing rain. Yearly snowfall totals in the park average around 40 inches.
When did High Point Become a State Park
High Point State Park first became a state park in 1923. The land for the park was donated by Colonel Anthony R. and Susie Dryden Kesier. The park’s plan was established by the Olmsted Brothers who were the sons of the designer of Central Park in New York City. Construction on the High Point Monument began in 1928 and was finished in 1930. The structure is 220 feet tall and the base is 34 square feet. The monument was built and designed to honor fallen war veterans of the surrounding area.
Things to do in High Point State Park
High Point State Park offers visitors a truly unique getaway, complete with various outdoor recreation options. Our State Park Visitors Guide discusses the most popular activities, adventures and experiences found in the park below:
Explore the Visitor Center
The visitor center at High Point State Park is the best place for visitors to start their adventure at the park. The visitor center houses several displays and exhibits that will provide visitors with educational information regarding the area’s ecology, history, and culture. Knowledgeable park staff who work in the visitor center can also supply answers to more specific questions and concerns visitors have.
Join an Interpretive Program
While at the visitor center, visitors should take a note of the day’s current interpretive program schedule. This schedule and the programs offered vary slightly from day to day. Visitors looking to learn more about the park, take a guided hike, or embark on a nature walk can ask the staff in the visitor center for more information regarding scheduling and availability.
Climb High Point Monument
Probably the park’s most notable feature, the High Point Monument offers visitors unique views of the surrounding area. From the viewing deck at the top of the monument visitors can see the Pocono Mountains, the Catskill Mountains, and the Wallkill River Valley to the southeast. Visitors looking to climb the mountains should contact the park or seek scheduling information on the park’s website. Climbs operate on a staff permitting basis.
Swim in Lake Marcia
The acres of Lake Marcia are spring fed, cool, and refreshing. These waters offer visitors a chance to beat the summer heat or recover and relax after a long day of recreating in the park. Adjacent to the park’s beach there is a bathhouse and food concession stand. Swimming in the park is seasonal and not offered in the fall or winter.
Boat on Sawmill Lake & Steenykill Lake
Visitors bringing their boats with them to High Point State Park will want to access Sawmill Lake or Steenykill Lake. These waters provide visitors with the opportunity to use a gas-powered engine or any other method of transportation. Boats in the park are subject to New Jersey State Game Warden inspection and should follow all New Jersey boating recreation rules and regulations.
Fishing in High Point State Park
Avid anglers and weekend warriors alike visiting High Point State Park will want to drop their line in a variety of streams and lakes found within the park. These streams and lakes are well stocked with trout, largemouth bass, and a variety of other species. Visitors should obtain a valid New Jersey fishing license before fishing anywhere within the park.
Wildlife Viewing in the Park
Aside from hosting a variety of visitors every year, High Point State Park also provides a home to a variety of wildlife species. The park’s species list includes woodland species like white-tailed deer, wild turkey, racoons, opossums, squirrels, and others. The park also is a permanent home and a seasonal home to a variety of avian species.
Camping in High Point State Park
The campground in High Point State Park provides visitors with the opportunity to stay within one of the park's cabins, in their tent, or in their recreational vehicle. All three types of sites can be reserved online through the park’s website and reservation portal. Alcohol and pets are prohibited in the campground.
When to Visit High Point State Park
Visitors can visit High Point State Park at any time throughout the year and have a memorable experience. However, there may be a time that is best for them to visit based on the experiences they hope to partake in. Summer is the best time to visit the park for a wide variety of activities. The season allows visitors to experience hiking, camping, swimming, fishing, and other activities in the park. Spring is the best time to observe wildlife, and fall is a great time of the year to beat the crowds and observe the changing colors of the season. Visitation in the park is slower in winter. Though visitors still access the park to enjoy a variety of activities including cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.
Must Have Items to Bring to High Point State Park
Every trip outdoors requires packing and planning, and a trip to High Point State Park is no exception. Below is a list of essential items visitors may want to consider bringing along with them to the park.
Water & High-Energy Snacks
Water is an essential item for every trip outdoors, and List of Parks suggests hikers and campers should bring additional supplies of water with them to High Point State Park. The best snacks for hiking and other outdoor activities are lightweight, easy, and full of energy. Beef jerky, protein bars, dried fruit, and trail mix are great options for visitors to bring with them to the park.
There are quite a few camping supplies visitors looking to camp within High Point State Park will want to remember to bring with them. Obvious items include tents, sleeping bags, sleeping mats, and blankets. However, campers will also want to bring flashlights, extra batteries, camping pillows, and other camping equipment. The best way to make sure you have packed all of your camping equipment before leaving the house is to create and utilize a camping checklist.
Wildlife Field Guides
The best way to view and learn about High Point State Park’s wildlife is by utilizing a wildlife field guide. There are several different field guides on the market. Visitors should look to purchase a field guide with color images. These images will make field identification easy and enjoyable.
The terrain in High Point State Park can be quite treacherous. Every visitor to High Point State Park should be equipped with a sturdy pair of hiking boots. Hikers and other outdoor recreators may want to invest in a lightweight and waterproof pair for added protection and comfort.
Hikers visiting High Point State Park should look to access and study park trail maps. These maps can be found online and at the park’s entrance stations.
Where to Stay in High Point State Park
Visitors looking to stay within High Point State Park will want to make reservations for one of the park’s campsites or cabins. These reservations can be made online through the park’s website and reservation portal. Visitors wanting to stay in a hotel in the surrounding area should first check for options in Milford, Wantage, or Port Jervis. Visitors looking for more options can make the one hour drive to Scranton, Pennsylvania.
Food Near High Point State Park
The closest food to High Point State Park, other than the park’s concession stand which can supply visitors with a needed drink or snack, is located in Milford, Wantage, or Port Jervis. Visitors looking for more options can make the one-hour drive to Scranton. However, visitors looking for a larger culinary scene may find it necessary to drive to New York City or Philadelphia.
Airports Near High Point State Park
The closest international airport to High Point State Park is in New York City. The John F. Kennedy International Airport is about 70 miles and a two-hour drive away from High Point State Park. The next closest airport is located in Philadelphia. The Philadelphia International Airport is 145 miles and about a three-hour drive away from the park.